Los Angeles, CA – The Armenian National Committee – Western Region (ANC-WR) participated in the Los Angeles Torch Relay event hosted by Jewish World Watch (JWW) in coordination with the Save Darfur Coalition, Olympic Dream for Darfur and STAND. The event, which took place on Sunday, November 18, 2007 at the LA Memorial Coliseum – the site of two Olympic Games – called on world leaders, especially China, to recommit themselves to doing more to protect the victims of genocide in Darfur. Speakers included Los Angeles City Council Member Bernard Parks, Olympic athletes Genai Kerr, Maria Cruz Garcia, and John Naber, as well as student activists from JWW and genocide survivors Lucy Deutsch (Jewish Holocaust) and Octavien Ngarambe (Rwandan Genocide). ANC-WR Community Relations Director Haig Hovsepian addressed the broad spectrum of community activists during the event. Calling on the United States, China, and the world’s powerful nations he evoked the spirit of the Olympics noting that, “we are here today because we understand that pursuit of perfection, that opportunity to the right thing. It is never the wrong time to do the right thing and confront genocide.” The event also featured Camp Darfur, a traveling exhibit which has been used throughout the United States to educate communities about the cycle of genocide including the Armenian Genocide, Holocaust, Rwandan Genocide and current genocide in Darfur. Los Angeles Armenian Americans came out to support the event, including Father Vasken Movesesian who has worked extensively on genocide awareness and justice issues pertaining to the genocides in Rwanda and Darfur. The Olympic Dream for Darfur mission is to raise awareness about the situation in Darfur in order to bring about better protection for its civilians. Because of China’s extensive economic interests in Sudan, it is in a unique position to influence Sudan to take necessary and appropriate measures in this regard. As host of the 2008 Summer Olympics, an event that stands for peace and brotherhood, Beijing is being petitioned by advocates for security in Darfur world-wide to ensure that it exercises its role as a world leader to act in the spirit of the games.
The Armenian National Committee – Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANC-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.
Photo Caption: ANC-WR Community Relations Director Haig Hovsepian addresses the audience at the Olympic Dream for Darfur rally as JWW President Janice Kamenir-Reznik looks on.